SPARTANBURG, S.C. – What do a goat farmer, a pig farmer, a sea turtle enthusiast and a female boxer have in common?

They’re members of the Wofford College Class of 2018.

The college welcomed 488 first-year students and nine transfer students as classes began this week.

“We’re very excited to welcome another outstanding class of students to Wofford,” says Brand Stille, vice president for enrollment. “It’s the largest and most diverse in Wofford history. New students come from 28 states and seven foreign countries, and 23 percent are students of color.”

The class includes 11 international students – hailing from Afghanistan, Mexico, Nigeria, Vietnam, South Korea, Belgium and China – and students from 28 states. “They come from as far away as Chengdu, China, and as close as Springdale Drive, right here in Spartanburg,” Stille says.

“Wofford’s reputation as a national liberal arts college continues to grow beyond our traditional bounds,” Stille says. “Our inclusion in national publications, such as the recent Forbes listing as the top-rated college in South Carolina, is helping to grow Wofford’s visibility. We saw an increase in applications for admission this past year and to date campus visits for the fall of 2015 are up 10 percent from this time last year.”

Stille says the incoming class represents the high quality of students Wofford seeks. Their average high school GPA is higher than 4.0, he points out, and 45 percent of the class was in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Fifteen members of the class were student body presidents in high school, and one in 20 was valedictorian or salutatorian. Twenty-five earned the rank of Gold Award of Eagle Scout, 23 were editors of their high school yearbooks or newspapers, and 176 were captains of high school athletics team. “We also have 74 first-generation college students in this class,” he adds.

Stille notes that the Class of 2018 includes:

• A boxer who is the only female member of her team
• A triathlete
• A black belt in Okinawan martial arts and another in judo
• A certified sea turtle enthusiast
• A two-time state swimming champion
• Two sets of twins
• A six-time soccer state champion
• The state tennis player of the year
• The S.C. Independent Schools student of the year
• An All-American soccer player who also is an Academic All American
• A goat farmer who breeds and raises goats for his company, “Good Guy Goats”
• Another who raises award-winning pigs
• The best left-handed, red-headed ukulele player in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina
• A student who has addressed Parliament
• Another who performed at Carnegie Hall